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Google created a tool that can be really great for some people, but it can also be a huge problem for others. I'm talking about the (in)famous SideWiki.

I'm trying to find a way to block the use of SideWiki on a Web page. I know it can't be used on https, I know there's a javascript available on the web to block the google toolbar. But I'm looking for a clean solution that will not block any users from accessing the Web site, but will only disable the SideWiki.

I didn't find anything in Google's documentation so I'm turning to you guys. Anyone knows how to do it?


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I'm not so sure that you can, much like you can't control the behavior or someone else's web page. I've never seen a control like that in GW tools. – Tim Post Aug 10 '10 at 13:55
I read many things about that tool. So far, the "best" solution seems to be to used .htaccess to detect the google toolbar and redirect the user somewhere else, or to append #(random_number) to make sur that no 2 visitors will get on the exact same URL. Both solutions are more like "hacks" than real solutions. It looks like my client will have to learn to live with the comments he gets on his Web site with SideWiki! ;) – Gabriel Aug 10 '10 at 15:53
god i hate sidewiki – Jason Aug 10 '10 at 22:44
Thanks to this post now I know about the side wiki! :) – Arjang Jan 25 '11 at 12:47
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I do not believe there is currently a way to disable the Google Toolbar beyond using https or adding the JavaScript disable script.

Here is a discussion from the Google forums about it, http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=494bb6012632fb05.

One thing to remember is only a very small number of people actually use the Google Toolbar.

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And an even smaller portion of them actually use SiedWiki – John Conde Aug 10 '10 at 15:35
And anyone using SideWiki knows what they're getting into. – ceejayoz Aug 10 '10 at 22:30

I'm not sure people remember ThirdVoice. SideWiki is basically that, but a decade later. None of these systems have (yet? ever?) caught on in a big way. These systems are basically just mechanisms for criticism. And just as you can't really control the reviews of your site or business on Yelp or Facebook or even the newspaper, you can't control these systems.

Here's a discussion of possible ways to defeat SideWiki, though some are technical and will thus be transient in nature. It looks like there's no robots.txt-style opt out at this point.

Now, based on the SideWiki API documentation, it looks like you can get a feed of your site's SideWiki items, and if you care to, you can counter claims that you feel are in error.

EDIT: Now, given that it's Google who maintains this particular site, if they were to get SideWiki installed by default into Google Chrome, there would be cause for me to be more concerned about the influence of the tool. But as it is, it requires an alternative browser (FireFox, Chrome), and it requires a browser add on (FireFox addon, Google Toolbar, Chrome addon).

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